Thursday, August 03, 2006

It better not be Ron's two older brothers!

[Possible spoiler speculation for Harry Potter and the Revenge of the Sith]

Lance Mannion speculates a bit as to who's going to die in the final Harry Potter book; so too, the other day, did Steven Den Beste. (Scroll down to the 8-1-06 entries; SDB eschews permalinks on his current blogging platform.) SDB's guesses (Lupin and Snape) are definitely two characters who might die, but I'm not sure they're both what are referred to in the news as "major". Snape is certainly a major character, no doubt about it, but I don't think Lupin is. He's more of a supporting character.

Of course, that doesn't mean that Lupin won't die. Rowling is on record talking about major characters dying, and I frankly imagine that the final book will leave quite a few supporting players as portraits in the halls of Hogwarts. Frankly, I'd be surprised if someone known fairly well didn't die by Chapter Three. This is going to be the "all the marbles" book, and I strongly suspect that Rowling's going to up the ante very early on.

Lance thinks about it a bit, and concludes that Hagrid and Neville Longbottom will be the ones. Again, maybe half-right: Hagrid could go, and Neville could use the kind of hero's death that Lance talks about. But again, I'm not sure how major a character Neville is. I can't decide if he's a supporting character or a major one, really. So maybe he dies, maybe not. I confess that I've never really seen Hagrid as "doomed", but if he is doomed, I think that he would be more likely for the kind of hero's death that Lance speculates for Neville: in that one moment, Hagrid will finally be able to wield some kind of magical power and strike one great blow against Voldemort before expiring. Neville, to be honest, seems to me likely to survive and become one of the next great teachers at Hogwarts -- maybe a Professor McGonagall for the next generation.

So who do I think is most likely to die? Well, I'm prone to splitting the difference between Lance and SDB, and go with Hagrid and Snape. I can't see Snape really surviving, as Lance suggests, to serve as a kind of Obi Wan figure for Harry in his adulthood, because Harry's already had an Obi Wan figure in Dumbledore. I'll also say this: the movies of the last two books will probably finally allow Alan Rickman the chance to supplant Hans Gruber as his most successful portrayal of villainy.

Finally, on a non-death speculation note, it seems to me that there is some part still to be played by those most annoying of London suburb dwellers, the Dursleys. With the way nearly everything in Rowling's tale seems to play a part in some way, I can't believe she would have kept the Dursleys around this long if they were just comic relief for the first couple of chapters each time out. What could that role be? I don't know. One idea I rather like is that one of Voldemort's horcruxes turns out to be some hideous knick-knack on the Dursleys' mantelpiece, but I'm just making that up off the top of my head.


Call me Paul said...

Villainy? I thought you were of the opinions that Snape was really a good guy, deserving of Dumbledore's trust.

Kelly Sedinger said...

I was speculating, really, and I'm sure there's a lot more going on than just Snape being a bad guy. But he sure gets to do the most heinous thing in the entire series thus far in Book Six, and Alan Rickman's got to be thrilled to have those scenes in the offing. I don't know is Snape's a good guy; I suspect he'll turn out to have been serving Dumbledore. But I may be wrong, and in any event, Rickman will get to play it all in his best villainous fashion.

(Even if Snape ends up being on the side of Good, he's a complex enough character that he won't ever be a total good guy. It interests me how Rowling keeps driving home the message that sometimes you have to fight alongside people you hate.)

Jayme Lynn Blaschke said...

I will be shocked if Rowling kills off Harry or another of the "major" characters. Cedric Diggory was pretty much a cameo death, IMHO, and Sirius Black was as much a supporting character as Lupin (even if he had a tighter connection with Harry). Dumbledore's death came off as way too staged for me to take seriously--Snape's now proven his devotion to Voldemort, and is going "deep undercover." And in all honesty, I've never found the permanence of Sirius Black's death all that convincing, either.

For the record, I could see Lupin die (which would be a valid "major character" as Rowling seems to define them), and also--this is weird--but Percy Weasly. He's been such a jerk that she could be setting up a "prodigal son" kind of riff with him, only one that doesn't end so good. I think Dumbledore coming back and dying again, ala the Wizard Ulrich in Dragonslayer is a possibility as well. But I don't see her killing Hagrid, or the kids or their immediate families. I haven't seen yet that Rowling is willing to go those directions with her writing, be that ruthless.

And since we're wildly speculating, I've had a growing suspicion since Phoenix that Neville Longbottom's going to turn out to save the day. That bit with Voldemort having to "choose" his nemisis... that struck me as a little odd in the way Rowling phrased it. Could be (in my devious way of thinking) that by focusing his energies on Harry, Voldemort allowed Neville to develop into a wizard just competent enough to exact justice for what happened to his parents.

Of course, I also thought Wedge was "the other" in Star Wars, and that Vader was a clone of Luke's father. So what the hell do I know?

Minnesota Nice said...

I'm convinced Snape is good, but that doesn't mean he won't die. I do think that Neville will die.